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The City 11, Washington 9, Lanier 7, Us 6, Michelle Rhee 5, Fenty 5, You Have 5, Allison Seymour 4, Gurvir Dhindsa 4, Houston 4, Vincent Gray 3, Anacostia 3, Rhee 3, Karen Gray 3, Paul Wagner 3, Kelly Administration 2, Adrian Fenty 2, Woodson 2, Marion Berry 1, Martin Luther King 1,
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    September 3, 2010
    9:00 - 10:00am EDT  

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>> good morning. i'm steve chenevey. welcome to this special edition of fox 5 morning news. our continued commitment to make you an informed voter ahead of the vote in maryland
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and the district. ahead the candidates for d.c. mayor will engage in a debate. we welcome adrian fenty and vincent gray. thank you for agreeing to join us today. i will be moderating the debate. we want to go over a few of the guidelines that we will follow. the candidates will have 90 seconds to make an opening statement. then one minute to answer questions posed to them. the other candidate has 30 seconds for a reput tall and there could be 30 seconds for count erie butyl if the candidate wishes. at the conclusion, each candidate will have one minute to make a closing statement. now let me introduce you to our panel of questioners. we begin with allison seymour and gurvir dhindsa. and paul wagner and d.c. political reporter karen gray
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houston as moderator, i may ask a follow-up question. the candidates then would get the full a lotment of answer and reput tall time. we have been asking you the viewer for your input and questions that you would like us to ask the candidates. we thank you for your response. you will hear many of your thoughts incorporated into the questions that we pose the next hour. we are streaming today's debate live on our web site at myfoxdc.com. you can go there to chat about the debate in realtime as it's happening. so, those are the ground rules, we are ready to begin. before the debate, mayor fenty won a coin toss. he decided to give his opening statement first. mayor fenty. >> thank you and good morning. if this debate is like the last six months of campaigning, expect my opponent to not spend a lot of time talking about his record or my record. expect him to talk a lot about things like a made up charge of
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phonism, a charge that "the washington post" dismissed this past weekend saying there was absolutely no evidence to support any of my opponent's charges. don't expect him to talk about his lengthy term as director of the department of human services in the kelly administration. the question is why won't he talk about these things? well, as the examiner pointed out this morning, it's a record of management that you probably wouldn't want to talk about either. more of the divisions of the agency going into court oversight. kids literally lost in the child welfare system. just like a lot of officials in the late 80s and early '90s, the budgets were blown and overspent. it was the type of management that led us to the control board era. he won't do a lot of talking about my record.
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why would he? over the past four years crime has been reduced to record numbers. schools and test scores improved. city services have never been more reliable and programs to the poor like economic development throughout the city are doing well, better than they ever have. we look forward to the debate. >> that is your time allotted for an opening statement. we will give the same opportunity to chairman gray. you have 90 seconds. >> thank you very much. >> i'm running for mayor because i believe district residents are desperate for a change in leadership. they want a mayor that will continue aggressive school reform but does it in a more who list stick way that engages the entire community. when i am mayor, i will work with a chancellor toward sustainable school reform that focuses on education from birth to 24. i won't leave the special education students and charter schools behind. residents want a mayor who has a real vision and plan for job creation and economic development. unemployment in the district is at an all-time high.
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it's a travesty that 30% of rest debts inward -- residents in ward 8 are unemployment. my plan puts residents back to work and supports small businesses. residents want a mayor that will do more to make residents feel safe in their neighborhoods. homicides are down, other crimes such as sexual assault and robberies are up. when i am mayor, we will put the officers on the streets working to encourage more of the officers to live in the city. residents want a mayor with integrity to put an end to cronyism. our city is more divided than ever along economic lines, geographic lines and between those that have a voice and those shut out. we need a mayor that truly has a plan for our city to bridge those divides and create one city. a mayor that will engage all of our communities and give them a stake in how the government is run. that's the kind of mayor i intend to be. >> that's your time. thank you very much.
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chairman gray and mayor fenty, thank you for your opening remarks. the first question, one of the polls showed a majority of residents feel the city conditions in the city are improving. but yet that same majority of respondents would actually vote for chairman gray. mr. mayor, why do you think there is that disconnect. you have one minute to respond. >> as i said recently, in the second term i need to do a much better job making sure people feel vested. that they feel that i'm listening to them, communicating to them. when i ran four years ago, we ran on a platform that we would get things done. that the city would be run as effectively and efficiently as private sector organization. as i alluded to in the opening remarks from the record population growth, to violent crime reduction to the test scores that improved more than any other jurisdiction in the country noted by the washington -- the lawyers committee on civil rights, obama
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administration or other independent groups, we have moved this city forward. like so many other people, i have made mistakes on the way. i am a person who does not mind saying that we have to make changes. a lot of those changes are making people feel a part of the process and like i did four years ago when i committed to something, we will make sure that that happens in the second term as well. >> thank you. chairman gray. you have 30 seconds to respond. >> the problem is people feel left out. they feel left out of their own city, left out of their own government. that is no more starkly demonstrated than the evidence that we have in the situation with unemployment in the city. on the eastern end of this city we have 30% of the people out of work inward 8. we have almost 20% of the people out of work inward 7. people feel like attention has been paid to certain parts of the city but there is nothing more fundamental than give people an opportunity to work and have a paycheck. >> mayor fenty f you choose,
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you have 30 seconds to respond. >> you mentioned in the poll that people feel the city is heading in the right direction. there is a quote that says a number of people that feel the city is heading in the right direction is 56% compared to -- this is the highest measure that the post has found since 2,000 and the second highest that the post has ever recorded. yes, like every other human being we can do better as we go along in the jobs but it's not as easy to run an $11 billion organization like washington, i and the results speck for themselves. >> thank you very much. our next question comes from allison seymour. this question will be posed to council chairman gray. >> good morning. recent reports show d.c. schools have seen a parked improvement in the past four years. in light of that, if elected, do you plan on keeping michelle rhee as school chancellor and what is your specific plan for the district's school system? >> well, first of all, i said
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many times that education reform is something that i supported, helped to shepherd through the council. i intend to continue with aggressive education reform in the city. secondly, i have said that education reform has to be about more than one person. education reform has to be embraced by the entire city. that is the work that i will do. it can't be just about a mayor a council chairman, just about a chancellor. so, one, i will work to see that education reform is embraced across the city. i will sit down after the election and talk to chancellor reabout whether she would be -- chancellor rhee and whether she would be interested in continuing to work for the city. we will continue and have a broader approach, focus on early childhood education, moving forward with a pre-k program that i started two years ago, opening the door to infants and toddlers, working with our charters to achieve parody in the city and working in the district of columbia in
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order to involve them more. >> mayor fenty, you have 30 seconds to respond. >> i believe this is a big difference in my opponent and myself, not so much the difference on whether or not we would keep michelle rhee, i said absolutely we will. after getting the race to the top dollars, after a seamless opening of schools and test scores going up, graduation rates going down, i'm waiting to understand what my opponent who is not only the chair of the council but chair of the education committee what more needs to know. but i believe this is a contrast in leadership. leadership involves making tough decisions. chancellor rhee made a lot of tough decisions. there are people that don't agree with all of them. >> we have to stop it there. chairman gray you have 30 seconds to respond if you choose. >> real reform has to be about everybody embracing that reform. it can't be about one person. it can't be about mayor or council chairman or chancellor of the schools. we will work to have education
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reform embraced in the city. i indicated many times that i will sit down with clons lour rhee to -- chancellor rhee to talk to her. she said it's about the children. i hope it is about the children. our next question will come from gurvir dhindsa. this is for mayor fenty. >> mr. mayor, good morning. >> good morning. >> this is something that has come up during this debate. during your first campaign for mayor, you made it a point to call out your predecessor, tony williams, for not being in touch with the citizens of d.c. now the most recent polls taken in this election show that you are out of touch with the african-american community. there is a racial divide in the city. if you are reelected mayor of the district of columbia, what will you do to make sure that you include all of the citizens and make this city connected? >> great question. so, four years ago we said we
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will work extremely hard in all communities. if you go to neighborhoods in the african community you will see new recreation centers, libraries. schools like woodson or eastern or anacostia being rebuilt. you will see six straight months of unemployment going down and working with groups like the calvin woodland foundation to place people inward 8 east of the river. what i failed to do as mayor is to make sure that along the way, i have brought people in to listen to them directly, even if i don't agree with them that sometimes happens in leadership, that i heard them and they are part of the decision making process. four years ago i ran on a pledge that we would make this city run better and be better. even the polls, the most cite came ones say that is the case. now i say the next four years we will do a better job of including people. >> chairman gray, you have 30 seconds to respond.
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>> people fell left off. that's not any more starkly demonstrated than the sidewalks we have with unemployment. the council put in the budget, $4.6 million for adult job training. this administration now over 11 months into the fiscal year with less than a month to go, spent not one dollar of that. people look at that and say how could you say that you are interested in me then not invest in something that will give me the opportunity to partakes pate in the -- participate in the basic life of the city. >> what the chairman says is wrong. if tea the time -- if he took the time to talk to the director of employment services, joe walsh, he would find out the past month we got out $3 million in grants to organizations that work with people who need job training. he would know that our project empowerment program has a graduation literally this morning that i will be attending where there will be almost 60 graduates all working
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within the next couple of days. we have done a lot to grow the job rate. unemployment has gone down for six consecutive months. we will do more in the next term. >> the next question comes from paul wagner. will will be asked of chairman gray. >> chairman gray, good morning. d.c. police chief cathy lanier was appointed by mayor fenty. if elected, will you keep her on as chief and what specific crime fighting strategies will you pursue? >> first of all, i have indicated with respect to any personnel decisions, we will reserve those until after the election is over. i have indicated also that i believe chief lanier has done some good things in crime fighting in the city. homicides are down. unfortunately robberies and assaults are up. but, again, this is something that we will talk about in the aftermath. i believe a couple of things. first of all, we need to move forward with community policing, get more police officers on the streets so they can be seen in our
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neighborhood. and we meade to move forward more aggressively also with having our police officers live in the district of columbia. 80% of the police officers in the city, some 3200 police officers live outside the city. we need to encourage, inseventive the officers to live in the city, be a part of the neighborhood. >> mayor fenty, your response. >> the reason why my opponent won't say what he will do about chief lanier or about michelle rhee is because the people who are supporting his reelection bid are opposed to them. the president of the fraternal order of police has said that he wants to see chief lanier fired. they have endorsed my opponent. the washington teachers association does not support michelle rhee. these are change agents. these are people over the past four years that have made our city better on public safety and education and the people supporting my opponent don't
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want them to be in office to continue the reforms. >> as i indicated on many occasions i am a native washingtonian. i want the best for my city. we will chose the best people for the jobs. >> we will round out the first round of questions from the panel with karen gray houston. this is for mayor fenty. >> good morning, mayor. what has been said and written about millions of dollars in contracts that have been given to a couple of your fraternity brothers. there is an ongoing investigation and recently you have been saying -- you have been referring to a "washington post" editorial, you mentioned it today that you said exxon near rates you. you can't really be exonerated before that investigation is completed, though that editorial makes good points. can you say today to our viewers, residents of the city, something that will make them feel comfortably that there is
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no connection between you, your friends and all that money? >> sure. the first point, my opponent likes to talk about this being an $82 million issue. as "the washington post" points out, both the people they referenced are -- received contracts that were less than a million dollars. so, this inflated number is an attempt, as i said in opening statements, for my opponent to avoid talking about his record or my record. here are some more facts. the procurement process was handled by the housing authority. as "the washington post" editorial board pointed out, not one person objected to any of the losing bidders, to any of the final procurements. this is the exact same procurement process that anthony williams as mayor conducted when he built the juvenile justice facility on mount olivet road. we originally intended to have these recreation contracts
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built by facilities director allen lou but the council blocked that. so, we are still waiting as "the washington post" editorial board, for some evidence to support any of my opponent's claims. >> that is your time. would you like to respond. >> "the washington post" also quoted attorney general peter nichols as saying that these contracts were unlawful but, quote, legally binding which is an odd position to take. the chief procurement office by the city hired by the mayor indicated that this is not a process he would use, that he would have conducted a request for proposals, a competitive bidding process and when the appointee, chairman of the housing board of directors appointed by the mayor raised questions about this and said he would pursue it, the mayor fired him. >> mayor fenty, 30 seconds if you choose to respond. >> again, the city council knows and the chairman knows this well, full procurement process followed. same procurement under the
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williams administration. no legal claims were filed. all the work done according to code and earlier than budget, earlier than time frame and earlier than budget. if you don't believe me, believe this gentleman. this is a picture of my opponent, vincent gray chairman of the council at one of the ribbon cutting for the project done by one of the contractors in question. >> mayor, thank you. that is your time. >> ribbon cutting on the same event. >> we will have much more as we continue. we will go up until 10:00. coming up, a number of topics including crime on the district. we will talk about the relationship between the mayor's office and city council here in washington d.c. 
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>> welcome back to the d.c. mayoral debate on fox 5 this morning. we are continuing to ask
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questions of both d.c. may i don't remember adrian fenty and vincent gray. we are working our way across the panel of questioners. the next question from karen gray houston. >> good morning, chairman. >> good morning. >> as council chair, you have criticized the mayor for not having the most productive relationship telephone. the mayor's office and city council. during the last four years, what did you do to facilitate a better relationship and if you are elected, what would you do to maintain a better relationship between the council and the mayor's office? >> well, actually, i worked hard at this. i sought to be able to meet on a regular basis with the mayor in one on one meetings. that was very sporadic and ultimately was discontinued. in order to be able to maintain discussions and conversations with the administration, i then began to meet with the city administrator, with the attorney general and with
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others in the administration in order to preserve some relationship between the council and the executive. we also worked to facilitate monthly breakfasts. those were terminated as well. i have not had a one-on-one meeting with the mayor in eight months. that isn't for lack of trying. >> mayor fenty you have 30 seconds to respond. >> this came up in other debates. as i said, i have no problem as a professional adult accepting responsibility for any short comings that i have. what i'm waiting on is to hear my opponent take responsibility for his actions. phones in 2010 work in city council like anywhere else in the world. you can receive a phone call and make a phone call. i can count on one hand the number of times i received a call from my opponent. i think people would rather have us talk about our record. >> mayor fenty that is your 30
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seconds. chairman gray you have 30 seconds. >> relationships do matter. they are important to discuss substantive issues in the city. in meeting with the attorney general he was candidate, he said the mayor doesn't want to meet. i said we have to be able to continue the dialogue in the city, talk about the issues that are important to the people of the city so i'll meet with you, i will meet with the city administrator and others because we have to continue to move the city forward. it's be county shownable that he doesn't meet with the chairman. mr. mayor, crime is down considerably in the district as across the country. several of your crime fighting strategies including all hands on deck, trinidad checkpoints and safe homes have been ruled illegal or unconstitutional. will you continue to promote tactics like these in your
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crime fighting strategy? >> first of all, i don't agree with you that all of these have been declared unconstitutional or struck down by the courts. number 2, they are not my crime fighting strategies. i support them whole heartedly because they are chief lanier's crime fighting strategies. i am the chief manager. it's my job to appoint people who are subject matter experts. what chief lanier has done they are in the all hands on deck or checkpoints that you mentioned, any other strategy is to reduce crime more dramatically than any other jurisdiction in the country. you noted for example homicides are down across the country. it's down three times the amount of any city in the entire country f. gough back to 15, 20 years ago when we were the homicide capital of the world, isn't it great to have a chief that lowered the homicides to where they were in
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1966s. she should be allowed to continue another four years. >> chairman gray you have 30 seconds. >> i find it amazing that the executive takes credit death for things that work well and place the blame on those that work for him. whatever strategies are exercised in the district of columbia are the responsibility of the mayor. i will take responsibility for those things that happen in the district of columbia. i will provide the leadership and stand before the people and take responsibility for those things that we do. they are the mayor's crime fighting strategies just as the other things that go on because he is the person that heyer people. >> chairman gray, that is your time mayor fenty would you like to respond. >> glad i get a chance to clear that twist of words. the mayor's job is to hire great people. she made tough decisions all of which i support. what i'm trying to inform my opponent on is that mayors don't go around deciding what
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policing strategy we should take. i am in the financial decision of who the management is but i support chief lanier and the police department, what they have been able to do the last four years. we want the residents to know we have great police officers. >> mayor, that is your 30 seconds. we appreciate your response. next question is from gurvir dhindsa and it will be posed to chairman gray. >> you have the support of former mayor marion berry and sharon kelly. you worked in the kelly administration. how do you respond to criticism that you are tied to the past and how would you work to move this city forward not backward? >> first of all, i have been in the city all my life and worked with lots of people. in this campaign, i have the
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support, endorsements of the 25 entities. look at my record. look at my record as council chair. i have been the architect, the champion for early childhood education unlike anybody else in this city. we are close to being the first city in america to have universal prekindergarten services. we said we would do it by 2014. we are four years ahead of schedule. that is forward thinking what i will bring to the city as mayor. >> mr. mayor, you have 30 seconds to respond. >> remember what i said in opening statement. the chairman is not going to and hasn't been this whole campaign talked about his real management record. being a council chair is fine. you manage about 15 people. department of human services when he was in charge of a child welfare agency where the courts took over. where he saw a bloated budget more than $75 million. the examiner wrote this morning that the federal government had to pass laws and take us to
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court to try to get him to close facilities -- >> mayor fenty, that is your 30 seconds. i have to interrupt and offer chairman gray a chance to respond. >> i find it interesting that you bring up the child welfare system when a few months ago in april of 2010 you went before judge hogan asked to be relieved of the responsibility. not only did he deny the motion, he held you and the city in civil contempt for the current condition of the child welfare system under your leadership. >> thank you very much. we have much more coming up on our mayoral debate. a couple of big issues coming up next including health care and also the city's unemployment rate. 
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>> welcome back to the d.c. mayoral debate. we continue the questioning from allison seymour. >> mayor fenty, currently there is one full-service hospital east of the anacostia river, united medical center. it remains in a dire financial state. what will you do to ensure the more than 100,000 residents that live in southeast have access to a proper hospital? >> thank you, allison. great question. i can rephrase it by saying what have we done. four years ago when i took office as mayor, greater southeast was on the verge of bankruptcy. by working hard through the department of health and with the council, we have been able to put monies into the hospital which has not only shored it up, helped to build a new pediatric and new mri unit but it's a hospital that is serving
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our neighbors on southern avenue and great southeast. what we have to do in the new united medical center the next couple of years, not only shore it up as a government but we are currently working to make sure that it's taken back over by private hands. hospitals we think are better run by private companies. we are not afraid as an administration to come in, make the tough decisions and show leadership to make sure that the hospital doesn't close and won't close in the interim. >> chairman gray, your rebuttal. >> the council has worked hard to keep the hospital open investing tens of millions of dollars. we need more than a hospital. we need a health care system east of the river. we have lots of people with health care insurance but more than 700 primary care finance in the city, only -- physicians in the city, only 30 to 35 practice there. as a mayor, i will build a
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health care system that focuses on prevention and early intervention so people don't inappropriately use a hospital as is being used now. >> as the chairman knows, this city was recognized nationally for having some of the lowest level of uninsured for adults n the top 10 and amongst the children we are in the top 3 for having the lowest level of uninsured in children. that is because of the strong work of my administration in making sure that more people are enrolled in the alliance, that we do greater outreach in communities and the noted work on united hospital center which will continue. >> allison seymour will ask the next question. this goes to chairman gray. >> chairman gray, staying with the concerns of the people east of the river, unemployment remains extremely high in that part of the district. what specifically will you do to get those residents working? >> well, first of all, we are going to reform the department
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of employment services. we have to have an employment services department that raises the obligation to adults in the city to provide training and then make sure that those people get jobs at the end. we need far more aggressive enforcement of the law that says if you get a contract from the district of columbia government, you are obligated to have 51% of the new heyer be d.c. residents. the enforcement of that has absolutely been woeful. the council put $780,000 in the budget to hire enforcement officials. this administration hired no one, did not spend any of those dollars to increase the enforcement despite the fact that we have 30% of our people inward 8 out of work, 20% of our people inward 7 who are out of work and could have gotten some of those jobs that would have been available as a result of those contracts. we will use our community college for that purpose and we will restore technical education to our schools so that after the 12th grade for those students that want to go
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to work, they have that opportunity. >> my opponent was council member forward 7 for two years, chair of the council for four years, director of dhs for another four years. somehow everything is always the fault of the administration. he doesn't acknowledge unemployment rates going down. he doesn't talk about the great programs by director walsh. but where i really think he misses the mark the most, our administration focused on education. everything else when you try to job train from behind is good but education is the way to finally solve the problem in the long term. that's why we made this the number one priority. >> that is your time. >> i think i do acknowledge the importance of education. that has been demonstrated during my time as council chair and before. the reality is that doesn't help a 30-year-old adult that doesn't have a job right now. that adult needs training and some guarantee of being able to not only have the skills at the end of the day but also being able to have the help and support to get a job.
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when we talk about 30% unemployment inward 8, 20% unemployment inward 7 there is no way anybody can be proud of that. our next question from gurvir dhindsa. this is for mayor fenty. >> mr. mayor, in a television add you admitted like anyone else i made my share of mistakes. exactly to what mistakes are you referring? >> well, one mistakes that people are right to point out is the mistake surrounding baseball tickets and the city council. i have not only acknowledged that mistake but we have corrected it and will make sure it doesn't happen again. it goes to making sure that we understand that we have to be more inclusive and bring people into the fold. go back to four years ago, because we want to point out that, yes, no person is going to take the mayor's position and not make a mistake. the key is to learn from them and change them as we have
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done. what we haven't u sured our responsibility is making things happen. we talked about the great work that chief lanier has done, michelle rhee and the schools have done the past four years. go through any neighborhood and you will see the revitalization of schools, brand-new libraries coming up, recreation centers, neighborhoods being reformed. my opponent acts like this has been on auto pilot. >> mayor fenty, that is, unfortunately your time that is al loud for this question. chairman we will take your response, chairman gray. >> one of the biggest mistakes the mayor made is to the disrespect that he has demonstrated for the council, legislative body. that was never more evident in the baseball tickets that he cited. this didn't just happen once. it happened the first year and as time wore on in the season.
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he did the same thing and tried the same thing at the versus. if he leaders from his mistakes, how many times do you need to learn from them. >> i understand you are upset about the baseball tickets. i apologize to you and the city council members. it won't happen again. it didn't happen this year. you know as well as i know communication and cooperating is a two-way street. you were recently at some of our groundbreakings and ribbon cutting as other members of the council dean wood, woodson and anacostia library. i think you can age we made great progress. >> thank you very much. i will take the next question. chairman gray, i will pose this to you. the mayor said everybody makes mistakes. what mistakes have you made as chairman of the city council or serving on council? >> well, actually, i am very proud of the record that we
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have with the council. i have searched myself to see if there is more that i could have done to work with the mayor. i believe that we have reached out as effectively as we possibly can. the mayor cites that i have come to groundbreaking. that was an effort to reach out. what he doesn't say is i wasn't invited to any of those groundbreakings. in one instance the time changed. we got there and the program was over. i will continue to reach out and do that because the most important thing for me in the city is for the city to move along effectively. it would be great if we had wonderful personal relationships but it's not about that. it's about moving the business of the city forward. i think the council has done that. when the mayor talks about being able to work with a number of our colleagues, there are eight sometimes nine of my colleagues who feel marginal
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lized. there are few who work effectively on a consistent basis with the mayor. you can't run a city that way. >> mayor fenty, you have 30 seconds to rebutt. >> if i understand the chairman's answer, he is saying, no, he hasn't made mistakes. he didn't acknowledge any. to be honest with you, that maybe the greatest mistake of all of them. all of us are human beings. to sit here and act like you have been the chair of the council for four years and that you have been a city councilman inward 7 or director of the department of human services, an agency that directly lead to the city government into receive advisor ship and say you made no mistakes, that may be the biggest of all. >> you love to take us back to the '90s. you do that consistently wherever we are. i would suggest that some of your behavior around cronyism, contracts, there are $82 million of contract authority grand to one of your fraternities brothers who runs an organization called banika
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ventures. his brother indicated that he was so troubled by your behavior and that of his brother that he endorsed me to be the next mayor of the district of columbia in an extraordinary action. >> thank you very much for your answers so far.
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our d.c. mayoral debate continues. our next question from paul wagner. this is for mayor fenty. >> mr. mayor, a viewer wrote to us saying increased fees are a
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community. we hear that when it comes to parking meters, parking fines and the bag tax. while these [ inaudible ] if reelected, will we continue to see these types of fees go up and new ones added? >> it's too great issues to talk about, paul. the bag tax was legislation that was -- my friend, council member tommy welsh put forward which the council supported and which i happy pillly signed into law. some of the parking meter rates are something that my administration through the department of transportation has proposed and have which have been supported by the council of the district of columbia. there are no easy answers and easy fixes in running a government. part of leadership is to show that you can manage the government, improve city services and balance the budget. the past four years taxes have not been raised. the past four years we have laid off or eliminated 2400 positions. no political official would ever want to have to run for reelection after making those types of tough decisions, balancing the budget. but unlike the early 90s, my
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responsibility is to make the tough decisions and i will continue to for another four years. >> mayor fenty, thank you. chairman gray your response. >> the council worked to roll back the proposed increase in parking meter rates by the mayor, $3.2 million raised by doing that. the council found the money elsewhere in the last budget. the mayor sent us proposed increases in fees and fines. we said that is unconscionable, a burden that the city shouldn't have to bear. we sent it back saying, mr. mayor, we reject this. if you want to do it, you have the regulatory authority to do it. >> mayor fenty, you have 30 seconds to respond. >> what you have heard is a typical politician who unwilling to make a tough decision puts it back in somebody else's corner. i am willing to make tough decisions. my opponent loves to have
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things both ways. and i just can't help but going back to when he pointed out that baniker problem. it wasn't $82 million. it was hundreds of thousands. if they weren't such a great contractor why do you have on a baniker hat at the groundbreaking. >> that is your allotted 30 seconds. we will move on. karen gray houston has the next question to chairman gray. >> you have devoted much of your public career to the fight against aids and hiv. currently the aids rate in the district of columbia is 3%, higher than west africa. if elected, what new will do you to turn that startling statistic around? >> the first thing we will do is to get someone hired because the director, shannon hader left just a matter of months ago. there is no permanent director in that agency at this stage. and, by the way, i was the one that created the first agency on hiv aids in the city and was
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proud to do that. we created the first five year strategic plan on hiv aids. we need a new strategic plan to work on the condition in the city. the reality is that we got to focus on education, we have to focus on testing, focus on counseling and we have to focus on treatment. those are the four elements of a good program and a good plan. i am going to get a director in who can run the agency, someone that has national reputation. we will focus on those four things and use our schools as an opportunity to educate our children about this dreaded disease. we have a pandemic in the city. we are 300% the time of the national average in terms of the incidents and prevalence of aids in the city. >> mayor fenty would you like to rebutt? >> i would. first of all, we have a director of hiv aids administration, dr. alias, a stanford he had indicated doctor who was hand selected to come in with dr. hader who did
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such a fantastic job educating, letting people know their status, putting condoms in the schools and dr. elias has continued to do that. when my opponent was director of human services, he did not hire a permanent director for two years. >> mayor, that is your 30 seconds. chairman gray you have 30 seconds. >> let me underscore again as director of the department of human services, i was the first director to create the agency on hiv aids. mr. mayor, you talk about hundreds of thousands of fees to baniker. they had control of 82 million in contracts. they had the authority to give those contracts to anyone they may have chosen to. your own attorney general said they were unlawfully entered into and you fired bill shroffer who tried to get to the bottom of how the contracts were awarded.
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at this point, neither the panel of questioners or myself will ask the next question. we will allow the candidates to ask each other a question, anything that you choose. you have one minute to respond. mayor fenty, you may go first. you may ask chairman gray a question and you have one minute to respond. >> chairman gray under questioning from the moderator, you refused to acknowledge any mistake you made is a chair of the city council member or director of the department of human services. as chair of the council, in the last hours of the budget, after the cameras left, after the entire city council left, you completely cut the funding for streetcars. now, after you completely cut it in the dead of the night without telling the ward 6 council member or the chair of the committee on transportation, the next day after the community was outraged, you went in and found borrowing, you borrowed 40 million more dollars, more expense to the city in order to
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bring the program back. i ask you, was that initial cutting of the $40 million a mistake on your part? >> i think you know, mr. mayor, i have been to portland oregon twice to look at the streetcar program there. i am a hearty supporter of the streetcar program. we have insured that we will be able to go forward with a new streetcar program in the city. what i asked for and i'm still waiting for is a plan. the reality is the streetcar program has been all over the city. it has been on georgia avenue, martin luther king avenue, good hope road. now h street. we don't have a power source that has been approved. we don't have a terminus point or maintenance facility. we left a lot of money in there for a plan. that's all we asked for to be able to go forward. the taxpayers of the district of columbia deserve to know how it will be executed. they deserve to have a plan for the kinds of money spent. over a year odd -- period of 20
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years, $1.5 billion investment that i support but we need a plan to show how to go forward. >> can you answer the question whether it's a mistake or not. >> he had one minute to respond as he chose. >> chairman gray, you can ask mayor fenty any question of your choosing and mayor fenty you have one minute to respond. >> mr. mayor, i want to ask you a question that you have not answered either. that is, this issue around the contracts for the department of parks and recreation, the $82 million in contracts that were circumvented, council was circumvented and rooted through the housing authority. the reality is it was through an obscure d.c. housing enterprise. bill slover who you appointed to be the chair of the housing authority board of directors, a respected civic leader, respected business leader in the district of columbia attempted to carry out with integrity his responsibility. he raised questions about it. when he went back to the city
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administrator, said i will continue this investigation, within a matter of hours your director of the boards of commissions called him and said you are fired, mr. slover. why did you fire mr. slover. >> you asked that at the last debate. >> you didn't answer it there. >> you didn't answer my question. the answer is the person that you named would not -- even though the attorney general asked him, agreed to send contracts to the council. because he did not, that is one of the reasons the attorney general made the recommendation that he step down and someone else be put in there. now, i have to correct the record on a couple of things. you, chairman gray as award 7 council member and chairman of the council know that the long- standing process of this government has been to use the housing authority. you know that the housing authority in this case went through a full procurement process. you know there were multiple bidders. you know none of the bidders losing have challenged. you know all the projects that have been done were done on time and on budget and, again,
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as i pointed out, you are the type of politician who will come to a groundbreaking, we are a baniker venture hat then come to a debate and act like you didn't know about it and blame everyone else. >> when we come back, we have the final question and closing statements from both chairman gray and mayor fenty. that is coming up when our mayoral debate continues. 
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our mayoral debate continues. we have one more question for each of you gentlemen. for this there will be no rebuttal. you have one minute to answer the question. mayor fenty i will ask the question to you first. the question is, mayor fenty, how do you envision the district over the next four years should your opponent win? >> well, as i pointed out, in
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past debates, i think my opponent is [ inaudible ] where i have a problem with him is on his management experience. his record will show that his chief management experience is the four years he served as the director of the department of human services. i pointed out the failings of him being able to balance the budget, being able to provide services for lower income residents, agencies taken over by the courts. you will hear my opponent talk about ethical issues. you will never hear him talk about, for example, the contractor that had $300 million in contracts before the city who is doing personal work on his house where he refused to recuse himself from the vote. you won't hear him talk about the two times the board of elections and ethics opened up investigations on him. what is good for the goose is good for the gander. >> mayor fenty, that is your one minute al loud to respond.
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chairman gray you will ask you the same question. how do you envision the district over the next four years if your opponent wins. >> we will continue to have the kind of ethical issue that we have seen thus far. my opponent loves to stand there and say it's not $82 million in contracts involved when in fact it is. the process that was used was not a process that his own procurement officer recommended. it was a request for qualifications, not a request for proposals. the low bidder was not chosen on this contract. the high bidder was. the attorney general said that the contracts were unlawful. so, i have no reason to thing that we won't see the same kind of behavior continuing forward. it's unfortunate that we have spent so much time in the city focused on this. we want to get on with the business of the district of columbia but $82 million in contracts is a huge sum of
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money and the reality is that his fraternity brother, head of baniker ventures had control of the money. >> thank you. that ends the questioning in today's debate. we will give you one minute to make a closing statement. we will go in reverse order of the opening statements. that means, chairman gray, you can go first. >> four years ago the district came together in an unprecedented way to vote for a mayor who we thought would usher in a new beginning for our city. inseed, he has squandered that optimism and hope and today we are a city divided. now days before an election, he is pleading for a second chance saying he will do better. let's be clear. he hasn't had a change in heart. this is a change in strategy to win your vote. he has given control of $82 million in city contracts to his krohnys. as mayor, i will put an end to pay to play politics. we have record unemployment

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